Cuba’s exploding-croqueta firm gets new grief

HAVANA, May 26th  The Cuban government-owned enterprise notorious on social media for its exploding croquetas,

which caused severe burns to several customers in the past few weeks, has turned up at the centre of a new controversy: The company, Prodal, posted a Twitter note in which it suggests that Cubans “have fun” dressing up hot dogs — unleashing a wave of criticism because of the desperate food shortages lashing the island.

“Have fun cooking at home this weekend. Prepare the hot dogs in a creative and different way. Here are a few ideas,” the state enterprise wrote.

A photo of sliced-up hot dogs with plastic ears, noses and eyes accompanied the tweet. The social media backlash didn’t take long.

“Cuban entrepreneurs: This is an example of what you should not do in marketing. Imagine promoting a product while knowing that almost no one has it and that you don’t even have it in stock,” tweeted Victor Proenza.

“Someday there will be a study that shows the epidemic of high blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer and hundreds of other diseases generated by so many years of food processed without any regulations or control. Then we will have to identify those responsibly,” tweeted Leo Salgado.

Others mentioned the long waiting lines that consumers around the island must suffer to buy even a packet of hot dogs.

Another problem with the company’s approach to social media marketing: The photo that Prodal used to illustrate its hot dog decorating ideas was taken from a Mexican website.

The practice of appropriating images from the internet is not new in Cuba, where leader Miguel Díaz-Canel and First Minister Manuel Marrero have used images from other countries to illustrate their claims of abundant harvests and a healthy economy.

“You are not even capable of producing anything like this,” said a tweet from someone identified as Radiactivo 98.. “You have no moral right to make any recommendations. Your post shows a lack of respect and is an insult to our intelligence. When will you stop disrespecting us?” (www.miamiherald.com)